GSoc: Royals look sharp in 1-0 win over Dons

Chloe Hamer of San Marcos dribbles past a Santa Barbara defender during the Royals' 1-0 win.

Chloe Hamer of San Marcos dribbles past a Santa Barbara defender during the Royals’ 1-0 win.

The sequence that resulted in the game-winning goal was a perfect example of the kind of teamwork San Marcos girls soccer coach Macie Berlin was looking for from her players.

Chloe Hamer sent a beautiful 40-yard diagonal pass to Lucia Lynn and Lynn crossed the ball to Ashley Julio for an easy finish in the sixth minute. That was all the Royals needed to beat crosstown rival Santa Barbara 1-0 in the Channel League opener on Friday at Warkentin Stadium.

“We’ve been focusing on playing together as a team rather than individuals and I think it shows how powerful we are when we work together as a unit,” Julio said. “That was really cool to do tonight.”

In her pregame speech, Berlin stressed the importance of teamwork.

“When we had our team talk today, I told them: ‘I don’t need to tell you the X’s and O’s, you guys know it. Just know when you go out there, if it’s about you, you’re not going to get it. If you go out there and it’s about us, we’re doing it.’ That’s what they did.”

Berlin praised the unselfishness of Hamer and Lynn and the finishing of Julio.

“Chloe is a feisty one. She’s willing to just sacrifice her body and get out there and she’s very unselfish with it,” the coach said.

On Lynn, “That’s one of my favorite things about Lucia as an athlete. She’s one of those girls who is constantly looking over her shoulder. She always knows where the next player is and her feet are so quick that she gets the ball there. And you have Ashley who timed that run perfectly for the finish.”

The Royals did a nice job knocking the ball around and stretching Santa Barbara’s defense. But they couldn’t get another ball past Hawkes.

Lynn fought off three defenders and ripped a shot that Hawkes saved in the 28th minute. Hamer made a strong run at goal in the 37th minute but her shot rolled under the arms of Hawkes and went wide.

In the second half, Hamer tried to surprise the goalkeeper by lifting the ball with her back to goal, but Hawkes was on it. The minutes later, Hamer split two defenders and fired a shot on goal that was gobbled up by Hawkes.

“Katherine Hawkes played awesome,” said Santa Barbara coach Jill Wolf.

Santa Barbara put together its best scoring chances in the last 15 minutes of the match. Kylie Schmidt had a good look go wide, and the Dons had three straight corner kicks but couldn’t convert.

“We were a little sluggish out of the gate but I think after that it was an evenly played matched game,” said Wolf.

San Marcos set up Olivia Jones and Lynn for scoring chances late in the game, but they were denied by Hawkes.

“It could have been a 5-nil game if we had been a little more on target and kept it away from the keeper,” Berlin said. “But I’m very proud by the way we possessed the ball. That’s what we work on; we work on keeping possession and forcing errors from the other team. I just said (to the team) that’s what it looks like when you do it right. All the pieces kind of connected tonight.”